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Full text of "The Dynasts : Parts First And Second"

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THE DYNASTS                   ACT m
To help a friend you foul a country's fame !—
Decres, not only chose you this Villeneuye,
But you have nourished secret sour opinions
Akin to his, and thereby helped to scathe
As stably based a project as this age
Has sunned to ripeness.    Ever the French marine
Have you decried, ever contrived to bring
Despair into the fleet!    Why, this Villeneuve,
Your man, this rank incompetent, this traitor—
Of whom I asked no more than fight and lose,
Provided he detained the enemy—
A frigate is too great for his command!
What shall be said of one who, at a breath,
When a few casual sailors find them sick,
When falls a broken boom or slitten sail,
When rumour hints that Calder's tubs and Nelson's
May join, and bob about in company,
Is straightway paralyzed, and doubles back
On all his ripened plans!—
Bring him, ay, bodily; hale him out from Cadiz,
Compel him up the Channel by main force,
And, having doffed him his supreme command,
Give the united squadrons to Ganteaume!
Your Majesty, while umbraged, righteously, By an event my tongue dragged dry to tell, Makes my hard situation over-hard By your ascription to the actors in't Of motives such and such.    ?Tis not for me To answer these reproaches, Sire, and ask Why years-long mindfulness of France's fame In things marine should win no confidence. I speak ; but am unable to convince!
True is it that this man has been my friend Since boyhood made us schoolmates ; and I say